IoT in lab

Connected Laboratory & the Role of IoT in Science

Science has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. But another field has been trying to overshadow it with constant innovations and growth. This field was conceptualized in 1982 (1) but has since then become a complete reality. This new field has had an impact on almost anything mankind is still doing.

Known as the Internet of Things, IoT has completely changed the way most jobs are done nowadays. And science laboratories are no different.

Internet of Things is basically a concept where computers, and other devices are interlinked to each other with unique identifiers and communicate between each other without user much user interaction (2) Here are some facts and figures about how Internet of Things has helped science laboratories advance, and how IoT has made the life of many scientists much easier.

Related article: What is Connected Lab & the Role of IoT?

Internet of Medical Things

Internet of Things for medical and health-related fields is known as Internet of Medical Things. It is a system of collection of medical devices that are connected in a network and are able to perform tasks without the inputs from doctors or professionals. Internet of Medical Things is also known as healthcare IoT. (3) Though it might look to the naked eye that IoMT has no link to laboratory sciences, there actually is a very deep connection.
For example, IoMT helps remotely monitor patients. IoT in science labs can use this concept to remotely monitor the different chemicals that are brewing in the lab itself. The scientists can also use this concept to measure and accurately note the different readings on the multiple substances that are present in different portions of the labs, without having to actually manually read them substances.

Decreased Rate of Error in Reproducibility

Perhaps the most alarming figure to note just yet, more than 230 scientific articles were studied in a study, and not even 50% of these articles had results that could actually be reproduced (3). This doesn’t mean that it was the study being too difficult or too unique to be reproduced, but because there was a lot of human-based error. Apparently, over 35% of unreproducible papers were unable to be reproduced because of manual error by the scientists that were responsible for doing the readings.

IoT removes the entire need of having to manually read the readings off medical results, and thus makes it far easier to accurately measure what the end result is.

There will be far less rate of error in reproducibility and scientists will be able to make a better study at a faster rate, without having to rely on pseudo-made-up readings.

Secure Data

Data loss has always been one of the most damaging blows that have been received by mankind. Even back in history, during wars, soldiers would burn entire libraries and even the books inside them, not realizing how important those books were to mankind. (4) (5)

With the introduction of IoT in the field of science, it will become even easier to secure data. (3) Because most IoT devices are secured by the general security measures, and are usually backed up on the cloud, mostly Amazon AWS, scientists can easily access data on these servers without worrying about the data that is stored on their computer systems locally.

This will ultimately help all science labs in the long run, and the whole of humanity if we’re so bold to stretch it so.

Related article: What is Connected Lab & the Role of IoT?

Overall Security of the Lab

Because IoT means that interlinked devices are easily able to communicate with each other and perform pre-defined tasks, this can lead to a secure system for the lab. For example, when an intruder enters the lab, the cameras will detect the intruder, and sound the alarm, while also informing the police and locking down the entire lab and backing up the storage to the cloud, while deleting the data from the local system. (6)

Because labs are not always secure when it comes to chemicals, and since most chemicals might become toxic for humans anyways, scientists can easily install sensors that would check if a certain toxic gas has been leaked from a certain chemical and instantly inform scientists so they can safely evacuate and be safe from any kind of danger.

Remotely Perform Experiments

Perhaps the best thing about IoT for labs is that scientists can work from home and remotely monitor and apply chemicals without having to directly come to the labs. (6)

This means that not only will the scientists be protected from potentially dangerous gases; the labs will also not have to be worried about any kind of bacteria entering the labs that come when a person enters a lab. This will ultimately reduce the entire error rate inside a laboratory, because near-to-ideal conditions will be observed in each laboratory that is supported and fully controlled by IoT devices.

Easily Perform Time-Sensitive Experiments

Many of the scientific experiments that are done in labs are very reliant on time. For example, if you heat a certain polymer for too long, it will start to decompose. But if you don’t heat that polymer for enough time, the desired chemical reaction will not be seen, that the scientist wanted to observe. (6)

Humans do not have a very fast reaction time when it comes to physically handling and manually checking the entire readings of chemical reactions. This is where technology comes in. You can predefine for how many minutes, seconds or even milliseconds you want the chemical to be exposed to a certain environment, and then remove that chemical from the environment immediately.

This will reduce the error and increase the reproducibility as we mentioned earlier, but will also make it easier for scientists to perform experiments without having to worry about always straining their senses to check the chemical reaction manually.

Related article: What is Connected Lab & the Role of IoT?

Conclusion

With these different findings and advantages that IoT has for science laboratories, we can assume that IoT has greatly improved the quality of life for almost all scientists. IoT is supposed to increase into more fields sooner than later, and we can expect a great increase in QoL later onwards too.

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